THE BLOG

Finding Medicine in Your Kitchen Cupboard

03/05/2011 06:09 pm 18:09:00 | Updated May 25, 2011

Do you feel like you keep entering your doctor's office through a revolving door? If so, consider watching this clip from Dr. Oz. This week Dr. Oz interviewed the guest, Dr. Andrew Weil and his team, from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Weil is a well-known alternative medicine doctor and a pioneer in his field. The show was a great reminder that there are a variety of ways to tackle any problem, even medical issues.

The best strategy is to prevent the problem in the first place -- for example, to eat well to avoid diabetes. This is often easier said than done. But if the issue is already present, there are many unconventional methods you can combine with traditional medicine. The techniques are simply inexpensive and right in your own grocery and health food store. For example, if you are struggling with menopause, Dr. Weil's team suggests that soy and flaxseed are helpful. These are natural tools to use in conjunction with your doctor's advice.

In many ways, this is not a new idea. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." In other words, we've know for a long time that food can be healing.

Prescription and Stress Eating

Sometimes, with my own clients, I prescribe a similar strategy for dealing with stress eating. There isn't a pill or a medication. Instead, there are certain foods that can help reduce emotional eating. Yes. It's ironic that food can prevent overeating.

Many foods irritate our systems. Particularly those with a high glycemic index or those with a lot of sugar. Remember that I'm not saying food or sugar is "good" or "bad." The trick is being mindful of how certain foods impact your body and interact with your particular medical issues.

For emotional eaters, the problem with high glycemic foods is that there is a spike and than drop in your blood sugar. The sudden drop leads to irritability and moodiness which often ignites more comfort eating.

So, if you struggle with chronic stress eating, one of the best things you can do is to eat foods that keep your blood sugar regulated. Eat preventatively. Keep your blood sugar stable. For snacks, try berries (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries), 100 percent whole wheat crackers or a glass of milk. A handful for walnuts is a fantastic option or whatever you like from this list. Find a snack that works for your body.

This week I challenge you to identify a health issue that is relevant to you. Do some research. See if there are particular foods that can help remedy, alleviate or reverse some of your symptoms. Remember that it isn't going to be a "cure" or a replacement to your current doctor's care and advice. It is simply a tool that can help your body work at optimum level. It's like putting premium fuel in your gas tank instead of the inexpensive grade. It won't dramatically change your car but it will last longer, work more efficiently and prevent some damage. Wouldn't you like to find some healing in your kitchen cabinet rather than your medicine cabinet?

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns, and mindfulness. She is the author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful, and Mindful Eating 101 and is a Huffington Post blogger. Her books have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, O, the Oprah Magazine, Natural Health, Self Magazine and on the Dr. Oz T.V. show. Visit Albers online at http://www.eatingmindfully.com